SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 10: Blues coach Brad Fittler looks on during game three of the 2019 State of Origin series between the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons at ANZ Stadium on July 10, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

New South Wales State of Origin coach Brad Fittler has revealed veteran second rowers Tariq Sims and Tyson Frizell are still very much in the selection picture with Game 1 now just four weeks away.

The Blues' camp was rocked on Tuesday afternoon after Cameron Murray was reported to have been sent for scans on a shoulder injury.

South Sydney revealed on Wednesday morning that a "minor procedure" will keep him out for between three and four weeks, all but certainly ruling him out of the opening Origin clash against Queensland on June 8 in Sydney.

Despite the fact both Frizell and Sims have struggled for form at the Knights and Dragons respectively - two teams who are both fighting to avoid being in the bottom eight - Fittler told The Sydney Morning Herald that he knew what both players would bring to the side.

“Tariq played all three games for us last year, and I just like what he’s about,” Fittler told the publication.

“He’s not too old. I’m old. He’s always done a job for us. It’s the same with Tyson. Players always look better in better teams, but I know what he’s about.”

It's anticipated that Liam Martin will move into the starting team to cover for the role Murray is vacating after he lined up on the edge last year, with Isaah Yeo to once again hold the Blues' number 13 jersey.

Martin's second-row partner is up for dispute though, and the fact both Sims and Frizell are well in calculations only adds to the situation.

Angus Crichton is another who has done the job at Origin level previously, while Haumole Olakau'atu has come into contention as a bolter, with Fittler confirming as much.

Keaon Koloamatangi is another who could be in the picture to ultimately replace his club teammate.

Fittler also confirmed that Ryan Papenhuyzen was well in contention for an Origin spot before injuring his hamstring and knee on the weekend against the Dragons.

“It’s heartbreaking for him. ‘Paps’ was right in the discussion - you could not look past him because he was playing so well,” Fittler said.

The coach has previously confirmed James Tedesco will hold onto his number one jumper for the Blues, while Papenhuyzen was in contention for the 14 jumper.

It's now tipped Nicho Hynes could win that role, although Jack Wighton, who has held it previously, won't be out of contention.

Fittler will name his team for Origin 1 following the completion of Round 12 in the NRL.

1 COMMENT

  1. “Tariq played all three games for us last year, and I just like what he’s about,” Fittler told the publication.

    “He’s not too old. I’m old. He’s always done a job for us. It’s the same with Tyson. Players always look better in better teams, but I know what he’s about.”

    Now that is a sensible attitude. The great Queensland teams were great because they were a champion team, not a team of champions. They picked guys who were familiar playing with the rest of the team – because they had played with the rest of the team repeatedly, and knew how the team played and what they had to do to fit in effectively..

    There may have been individuals available who were actually going better, and who looked like they would be better choices, but they would not have been as effective in the TEAM.

    By contrast, NSW picked a team of champions – a revolving turnstile through which passed great players who had never played together before, and who would play only a few games for the SOO side before the next great hope came available in their position. (Well, that’s how it looked to me !)

    So, I think Brad has a sensible attitude.

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